COVID-19 Healthy Habits

By AnneCherise Jensen, Photos by Micheal Rios 

Oftentimes people use the excuse, “I just don’t have enough time” when it comes to achieving goals. Important goals like getting enough exercise, eating healthy and cooking nutritious meals are often put aside. Fortunately, during these unprecedented times, we have been blessed with an abundance of time to tackle these goals firsthand. Though we are not able to control things like our jobs and the economy, we can control our health by practicing preventative lifestyle choices. 

For anyone reading this article, I challenge you to spend a couple hours a day practicing and developing healthy habits that will benefit you and your household. Not only will you feel better physically, but chances are you will feel better mentally as well. The best way to start, is to set small, tangible goals. Try one new habit every day. The more you do them, the easier and more natural they become.


In order to obtain and tackle goals, we must set in motion actions of self-discipline. Self-discipline is the ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses; the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it. However, this can often be the most challenging process. The upside is once you start to slowly tackle your goals, it tends to get easier and easier. With trial, error and repetition, proactive healthy lifestyle choices will eventually become habits. Taking accountability for your actions, understanding failures are inevitable, and having the courage to stand back up again is a huge part of the process. Whatever you do, don’t give up on yourself.  If you can, find a support group of friends and family who will encourage you along the way. Encouragement from loved ones will help keep you motivated and accountable. Remember, you CAN do this! 

Regular Sleep Schedule 

A regular sleep schedule is extremely beneficial to our overall health. The CDC recommends 7-10 hours of sleep per night for adults. Even though staying up late and oversleeping can be tempting during this time, it is also a slippery slope to feelings of anxiety and depression. A poor sleep schedule could lead to unwanted weight gain, increased sedentary behavior, and unwanted hormonal imbalances. Sleeping while it is dark out helps keep us on our natural, rhythmic, hormonal sleep schedule. For best sleep, put electronic screens down 60 minutes before bed and stretch for at least 15 minutes before lying down. Experimenting with a variety of essential oils / oil diffuser can also help create a calm and peaceful night’s rest. I personally like to put peppermint and eucalyptus oil on my forehead before going to bed, it helps me get a solid night’s rest. 

Organized Clean Spaces 

Cleaning your home is a great way to stay busy and optimistic during the quarantine closure. Not only that, but it can help ease feelings of depression and anxiety. Personally, it is a great way to help me destress. Having a clean space is a key to inviting a happy, peaceful and calm atmosphere into the home. It is important at this time, we are also keeping our homes as germ free as possible. We want to limit germ and viral interactions as much as possible to prevent illness. I challenge you to spend at least 30-60 minutes a day cleaning and/or organizing your home. 

Three Nutritious Meals a Day

Now is the perfect time to pass on cooking skills to your children and loved ones. Practice making family meals together at home. Have meaningful conversations at the dinner table. Share favorite recipes with friends and family, it’s a great way to stay connected. Try making twice the amount of portions so you have leftovers for the next day.  Practice finding the perfect balance of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, dairy and healthy fats. For more details on a healthy diet, check out for USDA guidelines. 

Fresh Air + Sunshine 

Opt outside! Enjoy the fresh air and sunshine while getting a healthy dose of Vitamin D. Many of us who live in Washington State tend to have a Vitamin D deficiency. Now more than ever is the perfect time to soak up all the extra sunshine and replenish those low levels. Vitamin D/sunshine is great for mental clarity, healthy skin, and strengthening our bones. Though many local parks and trails are closed, we are free to explore areas in nearby neighborhoods. Take a walk in the woods, explore nearby beaches that are open, and remember to stay six feet away from others. 

Physical Activity 

Physical activity really is the best medicine! Physical activity helps boost the feel good hormones in our brain, helping us feel more content and happy. Physical activity can also help us sleep better while preventing us from a wide variety of chronic diseases. The CDC recommends 150 minutes a week of brisk physical activity and at least two days a week of activities that strengthen muscles. Activities you could do at home include going on a walk, gardening, foraging, playing with your kids, home improvement projects, online fitness classes, yoga, walking your dog and even organizing/deep cleaning can count! If interested in online fitness classes, check out the YMCA online page for a wide variety of classes, from easy to moderate levels.

Limit Sweets, Salts, Alcohol, Processed & Fast Foods 

Too much of these foods can make us feel tired, groggy and even grumpy. Excessive amounts of sugar, salt, alcohol and unhealthy fats are bad for our health. Too much of these things could lead to weight gain, Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease, stroke and certain types of cancers. With the Covid-19 virus lingering, it’s important we limit these foods as much as possible to help keep our immune system healthy and strong. Our bodies are more resilient to disease when we feed them properly.

Drink Lots of Water 

Getting enough water every day is very important to our overall health. The CDC recommends we drink at least 8 cups (½ gallon) of water per day. Water is the healthiest beverage choice for many reasons. It helps eliminate toxins and unwanted bio waste lingering in organs. Water helps regulate the digestive system, lubricate the joints, regulate blood sugar, lowers body temperature when needed, maintains electrolyte balance and boosts overall energy. Try drinking at least one 1-2 cups of water with every meal to help keep yourself hydrated. 

Limit Screen Time 

The average person generally consumes 7-9 hours’ worth of screen time per day. However, the CDC recommends only 1-2 hours of screen time per day for teens and adults. Though it can be hard for many individuals working at home, try putting your phones and electronic devices down as often as you can. Go outside and play, have a picnic, read a book, play a board game, or practice your favorite hobby instead. It’s good for the brain.

Be Kind + Positive 

Practice gratitude, forgive, use positive language, encourage others, be intentional with your time. Share love, be loved and use loving words. These are scary times, the more joy and happiness we share with others, the easier we can all get through this TOGETHER! 

Again, if you aren’t already, I challenge you to fill your days with as many of these healthy lifestyle habits as possible. I promise, you won’t regret it. If you would like help setting up healthy habits, need assistance with healthy recipe ideas, or would like some words of encouragement at this time, please feel free to email me at I am available Monday through Friday, 9am–5pm.

**This material was funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP.  This institution is an equal opportunity provider.  

Inside a local hospital

Swedish Medical Center, First Hill, Seattle, stock photo. 

By Kim Kalliber, Tulalip News

For firemen, police officers, doctors and nurses, every day is a new day, with new dangers. Now add a global pandemic to that. With shortages of equipment and tests, to political uncertainty provoking protests outside of health institutions in some states, one can only imagine the levels of stress, anxiety, fear and frustration these workers are under. 

According to a March 31, 2020 CNN report, hospitals across the nation began seeing COVID patients in early March and many quickly became overwhelmed. Though many people suffering from the virus experience symptoms that can be treated at home, those with more severe symptoms, including shortness of breath or chest pain are encouraged to consult their doctor or to visit an ER. 

We spoke to an RN at Seattle’s Swedish Hospital, who prefers to go only by Mary, about her experience working first-hand in the COVID-19 environment. 

“The COVID patients I have seen have been from anywhere from the age of 28 to age 89. They all have fever and respiratory symptoms. Some have been otherwise healthy and others have had underlying medical problems such as asthma and heart disease,” explained Mary about the patients that have been admitted to the hospital.  

Those wondering if they should visit an ER or not, need to keep a close eye on their symptoms, especially if they persist. 

“You should call your doctor if you have a fever or a cough or if you think you may have been exposed to someone with COVID,” said Mary. “You should call 911 if you have any emergency signs such as trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in your chest, new confusion, inability to arouse or any bluish lips or face.” 

  Questions from the general public about local hospitals include whether they are full or still accepting patients. Mary explained that Swedish prepared early on for the virus, and kept rooms available for patients along with rescheduling and canceling surgeries. 

“The hospital campus I work at is not at its capacity. The hospital prepared itself in COVID’s early stages by not doing any elective surgeries or procedures to make room and have staff available for surges of COVID patients. Right now, the hospital has plenty of beds for any new cases of COVID patients.” Mary went to on the say that Swedish is beginning to open up limited surgeries for originally scheduled, non-COVID patients. 

Even though staff are in fact seeing a slowdown of COVID-admitted patients, it is still an extremely stressful environment. 

 “The general feeling I am getting at work is frustration. It is overwhelming when rules and protocols change daily and we never know what to expect. We are still limited on our supplies.” 

In addition to administrative stress, there is the fear of having contact with the outside world and going home to family members. Mary practices constant handwashing and other important steps when leaving a hospital shift.  

“When soap and water is not available I use hand sanitizer,” she said. “Social distancing. I always wear a mask to the store and try not to spend a lot of time shopping in the store. I never wear my scrubs home. I make sure to not bring hospital germs out into the public or home. I take my vitamins, asthma medications, and try to get good sleep.” 

“All employees are screened before they come in to work. We all get our temperature taken and are asked if we have any respiratory symptoms. If we have a fever over 100 degrees, we are sent home and our manager is notified. At my hospital campus, thankfully, COVID cases are slowing down. But we all still have to keep protecting ourselves and families by handwashing and social distancing because we still have some positive COVID cases coming into the hospital.” 

As far as states making plans to re-open businesses, and the quarantine backlash from protestors, Mary says, “The nurses on my unit and I agree that it is a little early for things to be reopening. We don’t think enough time has gone by for the virus to have been on the decline, there are still too many active cases to be loosening the social distancing guidelines. We have to be careful.

The protests are not helping anyone. There are other ways people can voice their opinion without gathering in large groups at this point in time, with the virus still being active as much as it is.”

As a reminder, Tulalip Bay Fire has an ambulance in service, which can transport community members transported directly from their residence to the reservation’s primary medical facility.  For concerned citizens who are beginning to experience COVID-19 related symptoms, please call the Tulalip Health Clinic’s main line at (360) 716-4511 to speak to their medical professionals. 

Tulalip debuts innovative program to combat Coronavirus

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

The firefighters at Snohomish County Fire District #15, known as the Tulalip Bay Fire Department, serve an estimated 13,000 people living in an area of 22.5 square miles on the Tulalip Reservation. Their mission is to foster community relations through unwavering service and protection of life and property. 

This team of devoted first responders just received crucial reinforcements to fulfill that mission as part of a 90-day pilot program that secured a second emergency aid car and three additional staff members to help Tulalip Bay Fire combat the dreaded Coronavirus.

“[As of April 6] we’ve put a new ambulance in service. It is staffed Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm,” explained Chief Ryan Shaughnessy of Tulalip Bay Fire. “The purpose of this unit is to transport Tulalip tribal members residing on the reservation to the Karen I. Fryberg clinic.

“Part of what we’re trying to do is eliminate the need to take people to the Emergency Room,” continued Chief Shaughnessy. “One of our main goals is to be able to transport people here locally, as to avoid an unnecessary trip to an out of area E.R. that is experiencing long wait times. We want to keep you here, close to home, where we can transport you to the local clinic and then get you a ride back home.”

COVID-19 has changed life dramatically for the foreseeable future. However, with this new program now implemented, both tribal and non-tribal community members can benefit in a variety of ways.

For tribal members that live within the Tulalip boundaries, if you are experiencing COVID related symptoms and report them to the Health Clinic, you can now be transported directly from your residence to the reservation’s primary medical facility. This is the first time ever a service of this nature is being provided. No unnecessary travel to an Everett-based hospital, nor historically long wait to be seen at the Emergency Room. By using the Health Clinic’s services to be seen, tested, and treated for COVID-19, costs are only a fraction of what one could expect from an E.R. visit.

The new aid car and team will work directly with Tulalip’s Health Clinic to provide transport for tribal members to and from the clinic for standard care during clinic hours, reducing demand on surrounding health systems. This work is part of a collaborative effort to strengthen social distancing measures and reduce the potential spread of the novel coronavirus.

For non-tribal citizens on the reservation, the new aid car provides must-needed relief and shorter response times during an ongoing coronavirus crisis. The primary emergency medical services (EMS) unit is freed up to quickly respond to life threatening emergencies, while the backup unit can focus on situations that don’t require emergent care. Additionally, the new ambulance can be used to transport any Tulalip-based citizen to a local Emergency Room, if necessary. 

“One of the added benefits of our new program is that when this unit is not being utilized to transport COVID patients from their homes to the clinic or to the emergency room, its available for 911 calls, to assist on structural fires, motor vehicle accidents, and all other call types we respond to,” said Chief Shaughnessy. “The individuals who work this unit are trained firefighters and EMTs. They are experienced and trained to respond to any call type.”

The 90-day program officially launched on April 6th. While it’s additional resources and manpower will undoubtedly bring relief and critical assistance to combat the Coronavirus here on the Tulalip Reservation, its impacts will be even more long-lasting. The new ambulance will be a permanent fixture at Tulalip Bay Fire and provide necessary back-up.

Last year, Tulalip Bay Fire received over 1,300 EMS calls. An estimated 100 of those calls required a backup unit, which meant depending on other agencies lending support and required losing potential life-saving time waiting on that back-up. Now, those type of situations will be mitigated by having a second aid car at the fire house permanently. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented challenge for Tulalip,” said Chairwoman Teri Gobin. “We’ve had to adapt quickly to protect our people. We are grateful for our partnership with Tulalip Bay Fire. Together, we are doing what we can to make sure that the entire Tulalip community remains healthy and safe.”

Tulalip Bay Fire provides fire suppression, emergency medical services with transport, water rescue, public education, hazardous material cleanup and a basic level of technical rescue services. For more information, visit 

For concerned citizens who are beginning to experience COVID-19 related symptoms, please call the Tulalip Health Clinic’s main line at (360) 716-4511 to speak to their medical professionals. 

Emergency Management Coronavirus Update, April 8, 2020

April 8, 2020

Today in Emergency Management, we are working on preparing for a COVID-19 quarantine facility if needed, tracking expenses for reimbursement, and developing a direct relationship with FEMA, rather than filing through the State. 

Many news sites are predicting that we are at the peak of COVID-19 infections. We want to encourage you to continue taking precautions. Our Board of Directors Stay Home, Stay Safe order is still in effect. Do not visit with people who do not live in your household and limit travel to essential tasks only. 

We’re often asked what individuals can do. Limiting exposure is the first step. Our doctors at the Karen I. Fryberg Health Clinic have asked us to encourage people to continue moving and to practice breathing exercises to be more resilient if we catch the virus. Practice these three to five times a day. 

  • Diaphragmatic breathing: To feel your diaphragm, put your hand on your belly, and sniff like you’re smelling a flower. The lifting in your stomach happens when your diaphragm contracts. To perform diaphragmatic breathing, attempt to breathe deep into your belly where you felt your belly lift. See if you can breathe in for 5 seconds, and breathe out for 5 seconds.
  • Pursed lip breathing: Take a slow deep breath with your diaphragm as described above, half-open your lips, and slowly breathe out as if you are making a candle flicker. This will strengthen your diaphragm and breathing control, and should make breathing throughout the day easier and smoother. You have healthy breath control if you can do this for 20 seconds!
  • Summed breathing: Take a small breath and pause for 2 seconds, then repeat this until you are unable to inhale any more. You may exhale quickly. This will allow air to get behind any mucus blockages in your lungs, and push it out. This will reduce the risk of pneumonia or lung infections.

In addition to breathing exercises, walking 30-40 minutes, at least three times a week can improve lung health and doctors encourage us to get up and move for five to ten minutes once an hour. As always be safe and if you have any unusual symptoms (chest pain, lightheadedness, confusion, prolonged shortness of breath, or breathlessness while not doing an activity) please contact your doctor. 

Stay safe and healthy and remember wash your hands!

Contact: Ashlynn Danielson, Emergency Preparedness Manager,